Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

As a teenager, I loved the song, “Hooked on a Feeling”. So when the trailer for the original Guardians of the Galaxy came out, the nostalgia factor and the humour shown in the clips made me really excited to go see it. But I didn’t like the movie. I found it pretty pointless. (OK, it’s a Marvel film and isn’t supposed to be deep, but still…) Listening to people enthuse over it, I wondered why I didn’t love it like everyone else seemed to.

In spite of not liking the first movie, I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Friday, since my older son wanted us all to go as part of his birthday celebration. And I was pleasantly surprised! I mean, it was still the same kind of movie, with a bunch of mismatched beings saving the galaxy, but I enjoyed it so much more. It was funny and action-packed, and the music once again was wonderfully nostalgic. And this one even had Kurt Russell in a key role — and David Hasselhoff in a small appearance, too!

But I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly made me like the second movie so much better than I liked the first one. The first movie was about a disparate bunch of people acting together as a team to save the galaxy. Exploring individual characters and one-on-one relationships was not as important as the group as a whole. And, apparently, that for me was the problem.

Thinking back, I also didn’t like The Avengers movie much. There was too much going on, too many different stories to follow and too many “main” characters. It’s another one I had expected to like, because I liked Thor and Ironman and their sequels. But in The Avengers, the big group together didn’t do it for me.

Come to think of it, I didn’t like the Ocean’s Eleven (and Twelve and Thirteen) movies as much as everyone else either. Again, probably to do with the group aspect vs the individual. (Although I still plan to see Ocean’s Eight!)

In my day-to-day life, I much prefer one-on-one conversations over going to a party; I would generally choose individual or partnered endeavours rather than big-group collaborative projects; and I prefer doing individual sports (swimming, etc) to team sports (although I do like to watch hockey). I also am very interested in what makes people tick and how they interact with each other.

This new Guardians movie pays attention to individual character development and explores one-on-one relationships (as well as saving the galaxy of course!). (Mild spoilers follow.) The backstory of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is further explored, as is the impact of a biological father versus a father figure who is present. Whether opposites can end up together is looked at in the up and down relationship of Quill and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). The appealing new character, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who doesn’t understand or possess social niceties, is really interesting to watch as she tries to fit in and to cope emotionally. She and Drax (Dave Bautista) are able to develop a connection in spite of both of them being socially clueless. Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) find that they actually have a lot in common, based on what they’ve each been through. And Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is still cute and funny and endearing, of course, in his interactions with the world and his companions.

Yes, even though this is a Marvel Universe movie with action and a lot of laughs, I’ve still managed to find enough substance in the characters and their relationships to make the movie enjoyable for me. And along the way, it’s a lot of fun!

27 thoughts on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

  1. I remember when Guardians Volume 1 was released, it was at the same time as Into the Storm. Hubby and I went to see ITS as an early evening show, and when it was over, on a whim we decided to see Guardians because Hubby likes the superheroes movies- not at all my cup of tea, and I wouldn’t have gone if we weren’t already at the theatre and had no kids for the evening. I was shocked to realize afterward that I enjoyed it far more than Into The Storm- it skates really close to being a parody and was really funny, and my first time to see Chris Pratt after he lost the weight. We saw Volume 2 on opening weekend and I agree, it packed a lot more of an emotional punch, while still being hilarious. Taserface! And at the very end of the credits- teenage Groot… LOL!

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  2. I saw GOTG 1 b/c Lee Pace was in it — and I thought it was a really effective movie for that particular genre; there’s a way in which movies like that draw on and modify tropes from comic books and I thought that film did a really good job of seeming a lot like a historic comic book (Pace was really effective in that sense). However, the mother’s death at the beginning was upsetting and had I known about that I would have skipped it. Had I stayed in the job I had in 2015, I’d have eventually bought a Groot standup / cutout for my office because I thought the character was cute. Or maybe a raccoon one. No plans to see #2.

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    • I think you’re right, that it did seem like a historic comic book. This might also have been a case of my expectations when I went to the first movie just being different than what it was.
      I didn’t even realize that was Lee Pace! He was well disguised!
      The mother’s death was upsetting, but it does give a lot of background to Quill’s character.
      Didn’t you have a Thorin in your office? Do you think he and Groot would get along?

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        • Good article. I feel that way about novels about kids getting bullied. Having kids who’ve been through various things, I have a much harder time with those. In fact I stopped reading Judi Picoult books halfway through “Nineteen Minutes” for that reason. Not that she doesn’t treat it seriously, but it’s just too difficult to read for me.

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          • She does treat the things she writes about seriously, but the fact that she writes about “issue” after “issue” makes her work on the whole less interesting to me — it’s not even that she’s trying to be “relevant” although maybe she is, I’m sure that sells books — but it bugs me that that stuff masquerades as literature when it feels like book after book is “drawn from the headlines.”

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            • I read a couple and liked them. But then I stopped. They seem like such a deliberate manipulation of the reader’s emotions – come over here while I tug on your heart strings.

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              • and that’s why it ends up headlines: school shootings, bullying, kids with autism, one child forced to give an organ transplant to a sibling, date rape, alleged sexual abuse, etc., etc. It’s reminiscent of one of the things I don’t like about Dickens in that way.

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              • It’s just been made into a Netflix series, and is causing an uproar in the US (supposedly it enhances teen suicidal ideation). I thought it was a decent novel, but I didn’t find it realistic at all. I can see why someone would make it into a drama, and I agree it’s accurate about nasty things that kids do to each other in high school, but not as a very accurate statement about adolescent suicidal behavior or sentiment. (Although they say the tv show has some significant differences from the book). But it’s another example of one of these “relevant” books that claims to be more than “just” a novel.

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                  • I think the idea that one could have the last word with all of the people in one’s life is tremendously seductive (that’s the premise of the book — the protagonist kills herself and tells everyone why / shames their behavior) and perhaps especially so for someone who attributes his/her depression to the actions of others, such as targets of bullying. The problem is that IMO someone who is in the severe hole of suicidal ideation so bad that they can actually carry out doesn’t usually have the clarity of mind for that (and certainly not for such a complex plan). Most teens and people in general who commit suicides don’t even leave notes.

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  3. p.s. I was at my nieces junior high band concert last Friday — they played a “Guardians of the Galaxy” medley, opening with “Hooked on a Feeling.” It was so funny to watch the kids chanting “Oongachucka” (or however that is spelled). They were SO embarrassed. Not sure how the band director (who seems much beloved) cajoled them into that.

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      • I’ve been to four of these concerts now and they play a lot of things that seem designed to appeal to their parents’ and even grandparents’ generation — but they did play a medley from “Hamilton” as well. It’s such a small school district (only about 90 students in band across seven grades) that they have to do what they can.

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  4. I wasn’t familiar with Guardians but did really enjoy the first one and absolutely loved this one! Baby Groot is my writing buddy, right along with battle-scarred Thorin. I can’t decided what I love more, Groot, the comedy, or the soundtrack. Probably some crazy combination of the three are what sunk me.

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  5. I saw the first Guardians in the cinema with my son and we both really enjoyed it at the time, although I confess, in hindsight, that I barely remember the story of that movie. My son wanted us to go see the second one together as well, so we went and I think I enjoyed this second one even more! Just last week in my Liebster Challenge post I was saying how I thought Lion and Moonlight were the best two movies I’ve seen so far in 2017 but this one is right up there as well. Very different kind of movie but with a great entertainment value! There was some nice character development, every ‘hero’ on the time really got to shine, there was great humour, a very fun soundtrack and there was Baby Groot… I know he is tailored to cuteness and I have read people saying it’s too much, but OMG, I found him so adorable!

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